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Posted by on Feb 11, 2011 in Featured, News, People, Photography, South Africa | 0 comments

Super South Africans: Jodi Bieber – World Press Photo of the Year

(c) Jodi Bieber / Time MagazineSouth African photographer Jodi Bieber has just been announced as the winner of the prestigious annual Press Photo of the Year. The award was made for her provocative and haunting image of Bibi Aisha, a young Afghan woman brutally disfigured after a Taliban ruling of punishment for fleeing from her abusive husband.

The photograph was featured by Time magazine on their August 09, 2010 cover and used to illustrate the story of Aisha’s traumatic abuse at the hands of her husband and the Taliban’s’ idea of justice and a woman’s place in society.

She had fled back to her family home from her husband’s house, complaining of violent treatment. The Taliban arrived one night, demanding Bibi be handed over to face justice. After a Taliban commander pronounced his verdict, Bibi’s brother-in-law held her down and her husband sliced off her ears and then cut off her nose. Bibi was abandoned, but later rescued by aid workers and the American military. After time in a women’s refuge in Kabul, she was taken to America, where she received counselling and reconstructive surgery. Bibi Aisha now lives in the US.

The vote for World Press Photo of the Year is taken during the World Press Photo Awards, hosted by the Dutch World Press Photo foundation. The photographer of the winning entry receives €10,000 along with “the most prestigious and coveted award in photojournalism”.

The main prize is given to the image that “… is not only the photojournalistic encapsulation of the year, but represents an issue, situation or event of great journalistic importance, and does so in a way that demonstrates an outstanding level of visual perception and creativity”.

You can hear the call made by WPP Managing Director Michiel Munneke to Bieber to tell her of the award here. Her excitement on hearing the news is infectious. After the call, Bieber talks about the image, and the experience that she went through with Aisha. It’s a harrowing story.

Jodi Bieber – you are a Super South African!

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